Newt Gingrich is Yesterday’s Man

 

Will the Dream Team be Benched?

Newt Gingrich was introduced at CPAC by Calista, who generously thanked the many kind Americans they have met on the campaign trail. When he came on stage to an excited crowd, it was clearly no 2009, when he had entered through the crowd to his signature “Eye of the Tiger.” Maybe it’s the effect of copyright denying him playing his tune, but it seemed to take Newt a while to get going.

His focus was on the economy, though if he’s going to present an economic plan to America he will have to find a better way than invoking the name of Reagan every two minutes. He recalled Reagan’s bold colors speech at CPAC, and recalled what he achieved, which liberals thought then was “unrealistic” but turned out so successful.

It was almost halfway through the 10 minute slot that he finally got the crowd going, when he sent Prime Minister Harper a message that Canada won’t need China in a Gingrich White House.

He joked that we can track Fedex parcels, but the government can’t track 11 million illegal immigrants. Newt offered his own innovative solution, to send 11 million parcels to immigrants and track them to find them.

Newt promised he intends to change Washington, not accommodate it, prompting this observer to ponder when he decided to stop accommodating DC, given his ultimate insider status. Really, his attacks on the Washington, Republican or political “establishment” rings hollow for this consummate DC schmoozer.

His schmoozing has led him to form his own “conservative dream team” to challenge his supposed bête noire establishment, and you can count how many failed presidential nominee candidates are in the line-up for yourself.

The speech in truth hit the two problems: the GOP will not win by trumpeting Reagan in favour of substance, and Gingrich will not convince many beyond his base that he is anything but an establishment man. In both cases, he simply comes across as yesterday’s man.

Who will bring us a bright tomorrow?

Is Washington alive to the Sound of Santorum?

Santorum after his speech walks by WhiteHouse12, will he walk into the White House?

Rick Santorum appeared on stage with his family, introducing them he said they were not the von Trapp family and they weren’t about to sing. However as he set out on his speech to offer sweet music to conservative ears, he seemed to stumble a little, the speakers version of being out of tune.

But, he did get warmed up. He hit a number of high notes:

We must trust in “the conservative vision of bottom up” and show “how Obama policies have failed” America. This is what wins the race, Santorum crooned.

But he struck a bum note when he said we are not going to win this election with the candidate with the most money to beat up his opponent. Who could he possibly mean?

A sweeter note was sounded when he explained how liberals use sentimental ideas of stewardship to advance radical environmental policies.

Then onto a higher set of notes, when he reminded delegates that our rights come from a higher authority than the government. He was as clear as a bell when he chimed in that he is in this race because Obamacare is a game changer.

Rick Santorum was introduced as the only chance of winning in November as a fresh face, but there was little fresh material in this show.

Karen Santorum makes plans to let Rick go to exhibit hall, will she be making plans to change the White House decor?

That said he ended on a high note with “You are blessed to live in a time when America needs you”. He called on delegates to live in honor, ending with “The ‘how’ we are of America is the Constitution, the ‘who’ we are of America is the Declaration.”

To those who support Santorum, this speech will have been music to their ears. Whether he can light up the election with the sound of his brand of music remains to be seen.

 

 

 

A Populist CPAC, but where are the ideas?

Bookmark and Share Meeting Donald Rumsfeld today, the man who knows his knowns from his unknowns, he saw my media badge saying WhiteHouse12 and asked me “You’re from the White House?” I explained I was not, and we are a website covering the election, but I can’t be sure whether he was disappointed or not.

Being an election year, you would expect CPAC 2012 to be a populist fest of election themes, peppered with attacks on the Obama administration, and today’s line-up did not disappoint on that front. The worrying thing is that the slate of speakers, while inspiring the crowd, did not have ideas to inspire the folks with outside the conference hall. The speakers were long on broad principles but short on specifics.

CPAC 2012 Kicked off with a populist energy, but are speakers offering enough?

Marco Rubio got the crowd all whipped up, ready to be severely unwhipped by a windbag speech from Mitch McConnell. The House Senate Majority leader did the math well when he said that if you lose your job in the Obama economy it will take you 40 weeks to find a new one. However, his math failed him when he exceeded his 10 minute slot by some 20 minutes. Some disciplined editing down to 10 minutes would have given him a better speech. When he got a cheer at the end I couldn’t work out whether it was for his message or the fact that he had finished.

The schedule ran 30 minutes late for the rest of the day, and Michele Bachmann followed. Her speech was probably the most detailed of the day, focused on the series of foreign policy failures by the Obama administration. The former candidate launched a sustained attack on the policy failures, and blasted the president for not backing Mubarak, saying “Obama failed to stand by Mubarak and that helped fuel the revolution in Egypt … The president spurned the President of Egypt when he took his first foreign trip to Cairo. In an absolutely shocking move, he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to hear his speech when Mubarak’s policy was to keep the Brotherhood at arm’s length.”

Bachmann attacked the president for not standing by Israel, “Before Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a judeo-christian nation.  I am here to say we are.” She concluded “The president’s foreign policy does change the history of the world, which is why Barack Obama cannot have a second term as president.”

Rick Perry got the crowd going as well, focusing on the economy he said “Success on Wall Street shouldn’t come at the expense of Main Street.” With the crash on the way, Perry said “Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn’t see it coming, they got bailed out.” His parting shot was intended to strike an ominous note, saying “I’m fearful of what the score’s gonna be if we let the president start the second half as a quarterback.”

More populist notes were struck by Herman Cain, who told CPAC “A lot of people thought that after the character assassination that was launched against me that Herman was going to shut up and sit down and go away… Ain’t going to happen.” On his 9-9-9 plan, Cain told conservatives to press candidates for federal office to embrace his flat-tax solution before they are elected. He also invited “Joe The Plumber” Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District, to take a bow.

None of the main speakers offered endorsement messages for the 2012 GOP nominees, preferring instead to talk more generically about the need to stop a second Obama term. A late addition to the speaker slate was Rand Paul who arguably matched, perhaps exceeded, the rapturous applause received by Cain. Paul asked if the President hated rich people and poor people with jobs, but then went on to state “The president doesn’t really hate all rich people, just those who don’t contribute to his campaign.” He then rallied “If you’re a crony, if you’re a buddy, just stop by the White House.”

Paul rightly reminded attendees of Ronald Regan’s “optimism,” a president who he said “turned a whole generation of Democrats into Republicans.” His parting shot was “Who will be that next Ronald Reagan?” This gets to the heart of what folks are feeling, which ran though this whole first day, feeling the need for inspiration, the need for a positive approach, the need for American exceptionalism.

What was lacking was any real depth to the conservative messages today, and it will take more than the invocation of the name of Ronald Reagan and repeating the wrongs of the incumbent to put a conservative into the White House. Reagan brought more than sunny optimism to the White House, he brought some strong and deep ideas on the economy and foreign policy as well. I didn’t hear the equivalent depth of ideas today.

Tomorrow will see Gingrich, Romney and Santorum take the stage, but will they bring any more than today’s speakers? I may not know the knowns or unknowns of what tomorrow holds, but I know I won’t be holding my breath.

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Conservative Formula Plays Out

Imagine if you single-handedly picked Presidents.  The choice is up to you.  No need to consider electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, spoilers, or anything else.  Your choice is it.  Now, imagine you live in Montana, Minnesota, or Colorado and delegates aren’t rewarded based on your primary vote.  It’s pretty much the same situation.

The result?  Ron Paul got his standard 10-20% of libertarians and conservatives seeking radical constitutionalism, Romney got his standard 30-40% of fiscal conservatives who want a strong businessman, and the social conservatives split the rest.  Except in states where electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, and spoilers don’t matter, Newt Gingrich barely registered.  Instead, Rick Santorum, deemed unelectable from day one, swept bigtime.  It’s like “What’s My Line” where the points don’t matter.

Social Conservatives demonstrated what they really want, and it ain’t Mitt or Newt.  Mitt Romney is striking out with Conservatives, first with support of increasing labor price floors, then with information about his imposing abortion coverage on private companies like Obama is doing now.  Both of these are huge question marks on Romney’s record.

But Newt hasn’t done much better, with most of the country now thinking he was Freddie Mac’s number one lobbyist and had more sex partners than your average Mormon.  Romney has succeeded in dragging Newt down, and Newt hasn’t helped himself.

So does Santorum have a shot?  Probably not, but he does have something Iowa didn’t really give him: momentum.

Now Santorum can face the Romney attack machine for a while.  It started with the Donald saying that since Santorum lost in Pennsylvania he can’t possibly win the Presidency. Of course, that is a pretty funny standard to be judged by when it comes from a multi-billionaire business-owner who has declared bankruptcy four times.  I would think Trump would be able to relate to Santorum’s tenacity.

The problem with Santorum is that he doesn’t have that Presidentiality  that stupid, ignorant, and independent voters look for in a President.  He doesn’t have the hair or the chin.  Oh, and as Scarlett Johannson pointed out, he is unelectable because he wears sweater vests.  What Johannson underestimates is how many people out there who would take a bag of rocks wrapped in a sweater vest over our current President.

I pick on independents, but social conservatives aren’t much better.  When delegates are back on the table, don’t hold your breath for another Santorum sweep.  That would require conservatives looking themselves in the mirror and asking what they actually want in a President, not just who can beat Obama.  Tuesday’s message was loud and clear.

Rick Santorum’s Triumphant Trifecta Turns the Political Tables Yet Again

Bookmark and Share   In what proved to be another stunning turn of events in the ongoing Republican race for President, underdog Rick Santorum pulled off a truly stunning victory in not one, but three separate electoral contests across the nation.  Tuesday’s non-binding primaries and caucuses in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri were essentially beauty contests.  Quirky state Party rules do not allow for these contests to actually award any of each state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention.  That is left to a series of other events in each of the three state’s unique presidential electoral nominating process.

Nevertheless, all three of Tuesday’s election contests do bode well for Santorum’s chances of receiving a sizeable number of delegates when the final stages of the allocation process does take place and in the mean time, his clean sweep of Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri have provided voters with another tremor in the 2012 election cycle.  It certifies this election as one which has broken the traditional mold created by past elections which usually allow Republicans to have a clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination at this stage of the game.  Even more astounding about the results of yesterday’s contests  were a number of factors that also include geography, money, and timing.

After big back to back wins for Mitt Romney in Florida almost two weeks ago, and another big win in Nevada this past Saturday, Romney should have established  a degree of momentum that added to a sense of inevitability regarding his becoming the eventual nominee.  Add to that the undeniably sizeable, professional, and well financed organization that Romney has and you had no reason to believe that Romney could lose one , let alone three, nomination contests that took place hundreds of miles away from one another on the same day.  The mere fact that Romney’s abundant resources provided him with the perfect opportunity to dominate in three different races in three different regions of the country at the same time, should have made it much more difficult for his underfinanced Republican rivals to compete against him in all three states very effectively.  Yet despite being out-organized, out-campaigned, and outspent by Romney, Rick Santorum who has not won a contest since Iowa back in January, not only beat Mitt, in one state, he did so in all three states and even more dramatic than that, he did so by wide margins that would seem to indicate that Romney was not even competitive. That inludes Colorado where Sanotrum won by anywhere from 5 to six percent of the vote.  Technically, a win by more than 5% in any election is considered a landslide.

The results were so stunning and such a boondoggle for Santorum that it left the rest of the field with absolutely no ability to put a positive spin on the results.

Ron Paul:

Aside from a second place showing in Minnesota, Ron Paul underperformed and remains a true non-entity in his plight to capture enough delegates to have some relevance at the Republican National Convention.  Of course I could be forced to eat my words if a very close brokered convention allows Ron Paul’s handful of delegates to adopt some sort of dangerous foreign policy or national security plank in the G.O.P. platform or to even determine who takes both the top spot and second slot on the Republican ticket in September.  Until then though,  Ron Paul has once again become a sidenote in another presidential election and will remain so until he can win a state, something which seems to be totally impossible for him to do.

Newt Gingrich:

Tuesday’s results were nothing but embarrassing for Gingrich.  He went from establishing himself as a comeback king and giant slayer in South Carolina, to being about as successful as the Hindenburg.  Being beaten by Romney would have been bad enough for Newt but to be beaten by Mitt and overtaken by Sanotrum and even losing to Ron Paul in one case, makes it hard for Newt to to try to maintain some staying power as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  It also makes it nearly impossible for Newt to raise the kind of money that he will need to compete effectively during the three weeks leading up to the Michigan and Arizona primaries, not to mention the all important Super Tuesday gaggle of contests that follows soon after that.   Newt’s pathetic performance in Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota  now leaves him in the middle of an electoral desert and while I will not write him off, I will admit that any roadmap out of the desert for Newt must include some major stumbles and wrong turns by his opponents.

Mitt Romney:

There was absolutely no reason for Mitt Romney’s poor showing in all three state’s on Tuesday.  Unless of course voters just don’t like him and unfortunately for him, the evidence would seem to indicate that that is indeed the case.   While Romney had everything working for him in Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota, his rivals had everything working against them.  Yet Mitt Romney failed to move closer to the nomination and ceded valuable ground to what is a very sizeable sector of the Republican electorate that seems to be more interested in denying Romney the nomination than they are in  accepting a clear alternative to Romney.  This now puts Romney closer to his moment truth.  He can either forge ahead by aiming his fully loaded negative guns on Rick Santorum, as he did with Newt Gingrich, in an attempt to win the nomination by default, or he can finally stop trying to play it safe and be a leader who puts forth a number of bold reforms in a concise conservative agenda that addresses the desires of the conservative electorate whose shoulders he wants to be raised to victory upon.  This means no more singing of  the national anthem to waste time that could be used to address the policies that support the meaning behind our anthem.  It means no more platitudes about policies and conservativism, or attempts to impress the nation with his wife and sons standing loyally behind him.  It means now is the time for him to step up and show us exactly why and how he can be the leader we are looking for instead of trying to convince us of why everyone else is not the leader we are looking for.

As for Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator has been given his own Newt Gingrich-like opportunity for a second comeback.  I am not certain if the opportunity was because he has actually been impressing voters with his policies and leadership potential, or if he is simply the beneficiary of a vote that is protesting the perceived inevitability of Romney’s nomination.  Either way, it is most definitely another chance for Santorum to establish the type of momentum that could catapult him to the nomination.

Doing so though will be an uphill battle.  Santorum’s newfound opportunity will be riddled with a barrage of assaults upon his record, a record that can easily be distorted and challenge his image as a consistent conservative.  Romney, Gingrich, and Paul will almost certainly transform Santorum’s prolific return of earmarks to the people or Pennsylvania whom he represented in the United States Senate into the record of big spending, big government liberal.   Santorum’s conservative credentials will also be challenged based upon his one time support for liberal Republican Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in a primary against the more conservative Pat Toomey.

None of this will be impossible for Santorum to overcome, but it will help prevent him from gaining the head of steam that will be required for him to capture any sense of inevitability regarding the nomination for himself.  But at the same time, Santorum’s string of victories make it certain that inevitability still eludes Mitt Romney too.

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Romney Stumbles Right and Left

Perhaps we should call it the curse of the front runner.  Romney has made two gaffes and managed to put himself on the wrong side of the left and right.  But the second gaffe, the one to correct the first, should have conservatives thinking twice.

First, Romney was trying to explain how he was focused on the middle class.  But he didn’t say he was focused on the middle class, instead he said he didn’t care about the poor.  Reasonable people know what he meant, but not everyone in the political world is reasonable.  For example: Democrats.  But as Romneyites have pointed out over and over in this campaign, the Republican nominee is going to have to deal with the unfair media and lies from the Democrats and we can’t go nominating someone who is unpredictable and brash who is going to say something off the wa…oh wait.

I know what he meant.

But then Romney tried to fix things by proving to liberals that he cares for the poor as much as they do.  Romney promised to raise and index the minimum wage to inflation.  I wonder if Coulter will defend that one.  Raising the minimum wage is a great way to get poor people to vote for you.  It helped Democrats in 2006.  And then shortly after raising the minimum wage, unemployment among teenagers, college students, and single mothers skyrocketed to record levels.

The idea of the federal government telling states what they should impose on private businesses as a minimum wage should give any conservative, including Ann Coulter and Mitt Romney, pause.  Frankly, the idea that someone who parks cars in Burbank should make the same as a burger flipper in Mobile is pretty crazy by itself.

The proper response would have been something like this: No, I’m not going to raise the federal minimum wage.  I am going to raise wages for everyone by shrinking the size of government and growing the size of the private sector so that everyone can get better jobs for better pay because we will have a better economy.  And I will abolish the federal minimum wage and trust the states and local governments to handle that themselves like the constitution requires.

Mitt has a problem that needs fixing quick if he is going to be the nominee.  He is a panderer.  If he is not careful, Republicans will start asking the same question they did in 2006, no matter how stupid and irrational it is.  Wouldn’t it be better to let Democrats win so everyone can see how terrible they are than to elect a RINO so that Republicans can screw it up?  Hint, no.  We’ve had almost six years now of “wouldn’t it be better to let Democrats win” and it has nearly destroyed our freedoms and capitalist system.

So somebody please remind Romney what side he’s supposed to be on in the debate on the size of government.  This is important.

Romney May Not Get All 50

Gingrich Shows Some Fight

Don’t count him out yet.  Newt Gingrich is fighting for his slice of Romney’s 50 Florida delegates.  According to RNC rules, no state can hold a winner takes all primary before April 1, 2012.  Florida was warned of this back in December.  This means that Newt could cut into the 50 delegates that Romney is expecting from his Florida win.  If this works for Newt, Romney’s delegate lead will be cut about in half.  But Newt faces an uphill battle, fighting an RNC and RPOF stuffed full of Romney supporters.

Romney Supporters as Annoying as Paul’s?

After the Florida primary, it might have been nice for there to be some healing in the state after one of the most negative campaigns in Florida’s primary history.  Instead, the theme from Romney’s supporters is that Newt should stop whining about the negative campaigning and his supporters should fall in line with the presumptive nominee.

If you think that is bad, Romney’s number one cheerleader, Ann Coulter, is now praising Romneycare as a constitutional, conservative solution to healthcare.  In fact, Coulter is now saying that “The problem isn’t health insurance mandates.”  Perhaps someone should tell that to Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General and Romney supporter who is leading the fight against Obamacare in the courts based on the health insurance mandate.

Don’t get me wrong, I get the whole “states have the constitutional authority to take away your rights, the fed doesn’t” argument, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to agree that Romneycare was a good idea.  Perhaps Coulter is trying to set up the future conversations for the presumptive nominee.  But are most Americans going to be ok with the argument that it as ok for Romney to take away their rights and force them to buy health insurance because it was on a state level?  Personally, I’d like to see less government intrusion in my life on every level.  Coulter used to feel the same way.  What happened?

If Romney wants to win in 2012, he has to get his supporters to change their message.  Romney needs to start focusing on Obama and reassuring conservatives that he is in fact principally opposed to Obamacare and the health insurance mandate, not simply offering it pandering lip service.  And for goodness sakes, he has to stop making Newt supporters his enemies.  He’ll have quite enough enemies in the general election without turning off fellow conservatives.

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